RFID and the Public Policy Void

If ever there were a technology calling for an in-depth multi-disciplinary holistic analysis involving all stakeholders, it is RFID. Yet this technology has sprung upon the scene with little attempt so far to address its many probable adverse impacts upon society. It does not take a great deal of reflection to understand the profound privacy and civil liberties implications associated with RFID if indeed all the "things" of the world are uniquely identified and can be located and read at a distance.

Letter to the FTC on Job Search Industry Privacy Concerns

We are writing to draw your attention to the challenges consumers face as they search for jobs in today's rapidly evolving, information-rich environment. Both online and off, the machinery of the information economy has created a high demand for large compilations of job seekers' names, email addresses, and resumes. Perversely, the demand for job seeker information does not correlate to the availability of jobs nor the demand for workers.

What's Missing from This Picture?: Comments to FTC "Information Flows" Workshop

"The free flow of information." This phrase has a deceptively appealing ring to it, almost patriotic in tone. We have heard it used frequently by industry representatives during the workshop today. What are some of the consequences of the free flow of information?

Joint Comments to the California Department of Insurance Proposed Regulations RH 03031129: Property Loss Databases

A crisis exists in California's homeowner's insurance market. In May of this year, the Department noted a four-fold increase in the number of consumer complaints about homeowner's insurance, topping the Department's complaint hotline.2 Non-renewal of coverage was a leading cause of consumer complaints, nearly always based on information included in a CLUE or A-Plus report. Adverse insurer decisions based upon inaccurate information included in reports was also a leading cause of consumer complaints.

One of the most troubling practices noted was that of a consumer's insurance being cancelled simply because the individual made an inquiry to the insurer without ever having filed a claim for loss.

Promises of Telemarketing Do-Not-Call Lists And What to Do While You Wait

Fed-up with unwanted telemarketing calls, consumers are anxious to add their telephone number to a do-not-call list. Interest has been fueled by recent media reports of a new do-not-call list soon to launched in California. When this happens, California will join about 20 other states that already have do-not-call lists.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has adopted rules that will establish a national do-not-call registry, and the FTC may be joined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in this effort.

California Security Breach Notification Law Goes into Effect July 1, 2003

Beginning on July 1, state government agencies as well as companies and nonprofit organizations regardless of geographic location must notify California customers if personal information maintained in computerized data files have been compromised by unauthorized access.

Prevent Identity Theft with Responsible Information-Handling Practices in the Workplace

Discussions on preventing identity theft often focus on steps consumers can take, such as shredding their trash and restricting access to their Social Security number (SSN). But realistically, while such measures can reduce the odds of becoming a victim, there is little individuals can do to actually prevent identity theft. The keys to prevention are two-fold, involving the credit industry and the workplace:

RFID Position Statement of Consumer Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations

RFID tags are tiny computer chips connected to miniature antennae that can be affixed to physical objects. In the most commonly touted applications of RFID, the microchip contains an Electronic Product Code (EPC) with sufficient capacity to provide unique identifiers for all items produced worldwide. When an RFID reader emits a radio signal, tags in the vicinity respond by transmitting their stored data to the reader. While there are beneficial uses of RFID, some attributes of the technology could be deployed in ways that threaten privacy and civil liberties.

April 2003: PRC's Privacy Update Newsletter

In this issue . . .

[1] HIPAA Basics: The Federal Privacy Rule, effective April 14, 2003
The PRC’s Q and A fact sheet is now available on our website – a comprehensive guide to the high-points and low-points of HIPAA.

[2] California & National Do Not Call Lists for Telemarketing
How to register for the Do Not Call Registry.

[3] “Uniting Privacy & the First Amendment in the 21st Century” Conference: May 9 Oakland, CA
Sponsored by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Calif. Office of Privacy Protection, & the First Amendment Projec

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